My honest review of Digital Ocean servers

Caution: This post is based on my personal experience with Digital Ocean droplets. It may not cover all the aspects.

If you look for cheap servers, Digital Ocean definitely going to be on top of your list. Their droplets (The name Digital Ocean gave to their servers) starts as low as 5 US$ per month. Pretty convincing right? A couple of months ago I had a chance to play with Digital Ocean droplets. So here is what I’m thinking

Digital Ocean provides unmanaged Droplets, meaning you have to install everything you need starting from the Operating system.That seems lots of work but it gives lots of flexibility as well. However, for our convenience, they provide one-click server stack installation too.

Creating an account and making droplets is pretty straightforward. DO user interfaces and workflow is not complex and it seems they have given lots of thoughts about the UX. Once the droplet created we can access it via Shell and start managing our newly created server. DO provides web-based shell but I personally prefer Putty. Both password and key authentication are possible. We can disable password authentication and only allow key authentication for extra security if necessary. It’s entirely up to you what you are going to do with your server but make sure you aren’t breaking any DO TOS.

Shell access means lots of commands right? But don’t worry DO offers a huge documentation and tutorials. So it’s not hard to make things done. But please do carefully when issuing commands, because one wrong command can break your server. So if you want to run one or several websites my suggestion is just to install Ubuntu with DO one-click install. Then install Vesta panel as Cpanel alternative. Well, you can install Cpanel but you have to buy Cpanel licence. With vesta panel GUI it’s pretty easy to manage the web server.

Don’t expect high-end server just for 5$. 512 RAM,20GB storage, and 1 TB bandwidth is a pretty good deal for 5$. Here is the full pricing list. Updating and downgrading server is very simple with DO. So big plus for that. I heard some people say “Don’t use DO as production servers, just use it for Dev server”. But my personal opinion is DO droplets are more than enough to run small business website or sites. So next time when you need a server for your small business website go for DO droplet. But remember you should have some knowledge of command lines and Linux.

I have only one problem with DO. They do not allow outbound SMTP connections, even we sign up with our credit card they need two months to unlock outbound SMTP connections. I asked them why their response was they are trying to avoid spammers. Probably DO attracts lot’s of spammers since droplets are very cheap.

So finally, Digital Ocean provides unmanaged VPS for a cheap price and good for small business websites. You need some sort of knowledge to work with DO droplets but they provide plenty of good tutorials.

Follow This Link get 10 $ credits from Digital Ocean. so you can use DO droplet free for two months. So what do you think of Digital Ocean servers? What I’m missing? leave a comment.  Thanks.


Cover Photo by imgix on Unsplash

2 Comment(s)

    1. Reply

      We agree that DigitalOcean is a great place to get started with servers and there prices are so good. There are a lot of providers in the same space/price range but DigitalOcean just stands out.

      The issue about SMTP does catch a lot of new users out and a lot of people ask the community forum for help, but its become pretty standard for hosts to block it. Just use a 3rd party service like mailgun etc, Gmail will even work if you need to send emails.

      There backup option they provide is good if you don’t want more than weekly backups if you do, there are services that support that.

      1. Reply

        Digital Ocean gives a great service, as well as their customer support, is fairly good for a company with little staff. Yes, you are correct. Some hosts block outbound SMTP connections while companies like Hostgator, Bluehost and Inmotion Hosting allow outbound SMTP connections. Anyway DO not entirely blocks outbound SMTP, after 2 months we can contact their tech support and activate the service I guess.

Leave a Reply